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Looking for love in the DMV? These four couples share their local love stories

From landing the first date to getting down on one knee, we asked four notable couples to share their sweet love stories with us.

tommy mcfly and chrys kefalas in front of white background
Photo by Robert Merhaut

Tommy McFly & Chrys Kefalas

Tommy McFly, 33, host of The Tommy Show and NBC4 contributor, and Chrys Kefalas, 40, vice president of brand strategy for the National Association of Manufacturers

Years Together
Dated for four years; Married for two years

First Date
A group dinner at Lauriol Plaza turned into an intimate date.

Most Recent Date
St. Anselm at Union Market

What do you love about him?
Tommy: “Chrys is so ridiculously unselfish, giving and so smart. He is wickedly funny too. That might be why we match so well. We both have the same core values.”
Chrys: “Tommy is real and he is the most unselfish person that I know who cares for others in a greater capacity than any other human being in my life.”

Love Story
Although Tommy and Chrys met at a group dinner with friends, their paths had never crossed before. Mutual friends were in town and the two found they were seated across the table from each other at a large group dinner. “We fell in love over frozen, swirly margaritas,” Tommy says.

“We didn’t have the type of social circles that intertwined,” Chrys says. “I didn’t listen to The Tommy Show and didn’t know who he was.”

Another complication: Tommy wasn’t out as a gay man yet. “I had just turned 27 and decided to open myself up to the idea of dating,” Tommy says. Forty-three days later, he and Chrys met.

A month after that chance encounter, Chrys, who is second-generation Greek, left for Greece and invited Tommy to join him. “Our adventure continued in earnest from there,” Tommy says. “It was one of those instances where you sort of just know. It was easy. It wasn’t forced. It organically continued to happen and it moved very quickly.”

Meanwhile, Tommy hadn’t yet come out to his parents, but when they Googled Chrys’ name they quickly discovered that he was leading the charge for marriage equality in Maryland. “My parents and I had a hard conversation the night before we left for Greece,” Tommy admits. But, in the end, his parents were supportive and accepting. Chrys also made an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in Maryland, running in 2016.

The couple was married at the Sagamore Pendry in Baltimore on July 1, 2017, in front of 200 guests. “It wasn’t possible to dream about this for so long but it’s exactly how we would have hoped to dream about the best night of our lives,” Chrys says. “It was whimsical and fun but also a great opportunity to reflect on where our lives and relationship had taken us.”

Although Tommy and Chrys lived together since 2014, “everything changes but nothing changes at all” when you get married, Tommy says. The biggest change is their schedules aren’t always easy to sync up but “finding time to be together is part of the work that is involved in a marriage,” he says.

sarah fraser and dan raben northern virginia magazine
Photo by Robert Merhaut

Sarah Fraser & Dan Raben

Sarah Fraser, 37, longtime radio personality, podcaster and FOX5 media personality, and Dan Raben, 40, director of player development at Loudoun Soccer Club

Years Together
Dated for six years; Married for five months

First Date
Ripple in Cleveland Park. The restaurant closed in June 2017.

Most Recent Date
2Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria, which was also the sight of their second date.

What do you love about him/her?
Sarah: “Dan always steps up to the plate. We go once a month to a great couples’ therapist. He supports my business. He goes on my family vacations in Maine. He always rises to the occasion.”
Dan: “I love her spirit and her energy, and she pushes me outside my comfort zone in a good way. I could be like a lot of people, happy sitting on a sofa watching TV but we want to go out and see things. We live in such a great area and there are too many things to do to do that.”

Love Story
After a six-hour delay, Sarah and Dan boarded a flight from Tampa to Washington, DC, in December 2012 and were seated next to each other. When the pilot mentioned there was a short window for takeoff, Sarah immediately noticed Dan checking not one, but three weather apps on his phone. When she asked if he thought they’d take off, he admitted it didn’t look good. Sure enough, the flight was delayed for another three hours.

Sarah invited Dan to join her and her HOT 99.5 colleagues in the airport bar while they waited for the thunderstorms to pass. When they got back on the plane, they weren’t seated next to each other but Sarah’s colleagues encouraged her to give Dan her phone number. When they landed at Reagan National Airport, Sarah gave him the last business card in her wallet. “I had no idea who she was,” Dan says. “I had only lived in DC for about five months.”

The next week, Dan tuned into HOT 99.5’s morning show and sent Sarah an email with his phone number at the bottom. They started texting and eventually he asked her out right before Christmas. Their first date was set for the first Saturday in January 2013.

“I was 30 minutes late for our first date because I had no idea about traffic,” Dan says. “Sarah was already at the bar meeting people.” Despite the rocky beginning, Dan won her over and they immediately started dating.

In August 2013, Fraser moved to New York City. “We dated long-distance for almost a year and she tried to break up with me at least two times,” Dan says. When Sarah moved back to DC in May 2014 to host her own morning radio show on DC’s 107.3, they moved in together.

“We were pretty much in love with each other from the start,” Sarah says. “What I loved about meeting Dan is I wasn’t glammed up, he didn’t know who I was and I had too many drinks.” Up until then, Fraser says, she had dated “every disaster in the city.” Dan, a new transplant to DC, has a different dating story. “Sarah was the third person I dated in DC so I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he says.

The couple was married in Bristol, Maine, near where Sarah grew up, in August 2019 at St. Patrick’s Church, the oldest surviving Roman Catholic church building in New England. Sarah’s great-great-great-grandfather donated the land it was built on in 1807. “Sarah has 27 first cousins so that meant we were going to get married in Maine,” Dan says. The reception was at The 1812 Farm, a restored Maine barn. “We had family members tell us it was the best wedding ever,” he says.

betsy fischer martin and jonathan martin
Photo by Robert Merhaut

Betsy Fischer Martin & Jonathan Martin

Betsy Fischer Martin, 49, executive director of Women & Politics Institute at American University School of Public Affairs, and Jonathan Martin, 42, The New York Times national political correspondent

Years Together
Dated for two years; Married for seven years

First Date
Cafe Milano

Most Recent Date
A weekend in Eugene, Oregon, to see a college football game

What do you love about him/her?
Jonathan: “I love waking up with Betsy and going to bed with her. It’s always fun. I can’t imagine being without her. I hate to be separated from her. She is the first person I want to call and I want to see. She’s always up for an adventure.”
Betsy: “I love that he has a very big heart. He is a very thoughtful person and is very supportive and always a ton of fun to be around.”

Love Story
Betsy and Jonathan were friends before they started dating. They first met in 2008 on the presidential campaign trail. Betsy was the executive producer of Meet the Press and married, and Jonathan was working at Politico.

In 2009, Betsy and her husband divorced and Jonathan let her know he was interested in more than just a friendship. “Jonathan put on his best persistent-reporter hat,” Betsy says.
Jonathan saw his opening in February 2010 during Snowmageddon when he offered to come over and shovel her driveway. She turned him down but agreed to meet him at Cafe Milano. “Because he offered, I thought he was a good guy and he maybe was sincere,” she says.

Both Jonathan and Betsy say they made the transition from friendship to falling in love pretty quickly. “We were basically inseparable after the first few weeks,” Jonathan says.
Part of their compatibility, says Jonathan, is they’re both involved in political journalism.

“Reporters are married to other reporters because they relate to what their lives are like and the calendar, whether it’s the congressional calendar or the campaign calendar,” he says. And while they are both in journalism, they aren’t competing with each other to scoop stories. “It’s much more of partnership,” Betsy says. “It’s the same reason you see actors married to each other.”

The couple was married at Airlie in Warrenton Memorial Day weekend in 2012. The guest list was a mix of family, college friends and media colleagues, Jonathan says.

“Every day is bliss,” Jonathan says. “We have a lot of fun.” Most of their dates these days are much more low-key than when they were dating. The couple often goes to their favorite Northern Virginia restaurants, such as Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church—the same Chinese restaurant President George H. Bush frequented.

They also spend time with Betsy’s daughter, who is a senior in high school. “Jonathan is like the annoying older brother she never had,” Betsy says.

lauryn ricketts wearing blue in front of white wall
Photo by Robert Merhaut

Lauryn Ricketts & Eric Earnhardt

Lauryn, 36, broadcast meteorologist for NBC4 and WTOP, and Eric Earnhardt, 38, retired Marine Corps Major deployed to Afghanistan

Years Together
Dated for six; Married two

First Date
Frontiers, a Journey tribute band, in Wilmington, North Carolina

Most Recent Date
A Nationals game right before Eric was deployed to Afghanistan in July.
What do you love about him/her?
Lauryn: “I love how humble he is. He makes me laugh. He’s the funniest person I know. Sometimes when he talks, I think he gets more and more handsome as he talks.”
Eric: “I couldn’t imagine going through this adventure with anyone else.  You make everyone around you happier, you’re incredibly talented in so many ways, and I’m having the time of my life.  I love you. You’re my favorite person in the whole world.”

wedding photo
Photo courtesy of Lauryn Ricketts

Love Story
Lauryn and Eric have known each other since high school but they didn’t start dating until they met again at a friend’s wedding in 2012. Growing up in Winchester, they hung out with the same group of kids and both played soccer in high school, but never dated or even considered dating.

After high school, they went their separate ways—Lauryn to Randolph-Macon College and Eric to Penn State. Immediately after college, Eric joined the Marine Corps. Lauryn briefly saw Eric in 2008. When they ran into each other at the wedding four years later, Lauryn had just ended a 10-year relationship. “He had just gotten back from overseas and I just ended a relationship,” Lauryn says. “I didn’t think it would turn into anything because I knew him growing up.”

But she definitely noticed a spark. “I couldn’t stop thinking about him,” Lauryn says.
Eric was stationed in Wilmington, North Carolina and Lauryn wanted to see him again, so she told Eric she was visiting a friend in Charlotte and would be passing through Wilmington and could stop by and visit, not realizing the cities were 200 miles apart. “I knew how far out of the way Wilmington was from Charlotte, which made me happy, because I thought maybe you were feeling the same way about me that I was feeling about you,” Eric says.

Soon after, they began a long-distance relationship. “I would drive from DC, after work every other Friday and he would do the same,” she says. “We did that for four and a half years.”

Eric left the Marine Corps in April 2016 to work for the Department of Defense and moved in with Lauryn. Soon after, they decided to get married. “It’s a running joke that everyone from Winchester marries someone from Winchester,” she says.

They were wed Dec. 30, 2017, at the Brooklyn Arts Center in Wilmington, and being fans of ’80s music, Lauryn walked down the aisle to Asia’s “Heat of the Moment.” After the ceremony, they played music videos from the ’70s and ’80s on giant screens until Three Sheets to the Wind, a yacht rock band , took the stage to play tunes from the ’70s and ’80s.

Eric was deployed two weeks after their wedding. Although Lauryn says being a military spouse isn’t easy, she has learned how to cope and, in some ways, it fits their personalities well because they are both so independent. “It’s refreshing that he can go away and I miss him so that much that when he gets back it’s like we just got married,” she says.

This post originally appeared in our January 2020 print issue. For more love in the DMV, read this month’s cover story and subscribe to our newsletters. 

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